Chengxu (Gary) Liu is a student in the Department of Crop Sciences, and a member of the Crop Sciences Student Ambassador Program. Read more about Chengxu in the Q&A below.

Chengxu (Gary) Liu

What's your major?
I am double majoring in Natural Resources & Environmental Science and Crop Sciences (Agroecology).

Where are you from?
I am from Changsha, a city in Hunan Province in Southern China.

Why did you pick the Department of Crop Sciences?
I have been interested in environmental studies since a young age. There are numerous environmental issues, such as pollution and non-renewable energy use. Later, I discovered that agriculture is part of the ecosystem, and environmental issues also pose a huge threat to agroecology. Crop production and food safety are primary concerns around the world. In this way, I added Crop Sciences as my second major during my sophomore year to explore how to integrate environmental remediation into agroecosystem.

What is your favorite part of being a student in the Department of Crop Sciences?
First of all, my classmates are very friendly and open-minded. Here, I can find many people of similar ages with numerous commonalities in agricultural studies. We are all willing to contribute ideas and perspectives on how to better manage agriculture in different dimensions, such as agroecology, food production, and plant technology.

Second, Crop Sciences contains many research, internship, student organizations, studying abroad, and many other opportunities to get highly involved. I have been involved in different research projects and helped lead a registered student organization related to agricultural and environmental sustainability. It really enriched me with a wide range of experiences and skills that are beneficial to my future career.

Third, faculty members in Crop Sciences were very nice and well-guided. When I had questions or ideas, they were always willing to assist and guide me on the right track. If there were any concerns, they were more than happy to accommodate me. The faculty members I met were teaching very well and offered many research or internship opportunities in their labs to help us gain research experiences.

What do you do for fun outside academics?
Outside academics, I love riding my bike, swimming, reading different books, playing badminton, and capturing the beautiful nature outside.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
After my graduation, I plan to go to graduate school (master's first, then Ph.D., probably post-doc after Ph.D.) to research environmental engineering, focusing on wastewater treatment, air pollution, or soil management in terms of sustainable agricultural production. Later in my career, I want to become an environmental engineer or specialist to cope with contemporary environmental and agroecological issues.

What is one thing you want people to know about Crop Sciences, the College of ACES, or the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?
I want to say that don't be afraid to try and explore. There are many opportunities in Crop Sciences, College of ACES, and around campus that can help you get involved and gain valuable experiences that will benefit your future career and society. Most of them don't require prior experience, so if you don't have experience, that is ok. You are always welcome to try and explore anything you are interested in. No one will judge your decisions or choices, and people on campus will assist you if you've ever had concerns.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Undergraduate Programs in Crop Sciences, you can email If you’re interested in scheduling a time to talk with a Crop Sciences representative, sign up here.